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The Future Looks Rosy!
The main site libraries are full. There is no more room on the shelves. The Library's present store at Hampstead Road is also full. What is to be done? What is needed are facilities which will see UCL through well into the next century. As a major research Library, it is not possible to destroy material to make way for new books and periodicals. UCL has wonderful collections and we have a national responsibilty to act as an archive and library of record. Where do we go from here?
The answer is - acquire a new store.
What was needed was a large building in an inexpensive area with good road communications, not more than two hour's drive away from central London, so that material could be delivered back to College within 24 hours, just as it was from Hampstead Road. Consultant 'site-hunters' were engaged, and as a result of their researches College has purchased Belnor House, a warehouse on the outskirts of Wickford in Essex.
Belnor House is huge. It is a purpose-built warehouse, of the kind you see on any industrial estate. At the moment Library services are occupying half of it, but that half now contains some fourteen miles of mobile shelving, which should see us through at least the next three years. After that, we shall take over the other half of the storage area, making the store one of the largest of any university library in the country.
Belnor House Store
The new store will be operating by the time you read this. What difference will it make to our readers? Initially, very little, and you may not even notice the change. Readers will submit forms for store materials housed in Wickford just as they did for items at Hampstead Road, and items requested will be delivered to the Science Library issue desk every day in the early afternoon. Anything which is moved to Wickford can always be reintegrated in the main collection if it proves to be in demand after all.
What of future developments at Wickford? Soon we hope to improve things for our readers by introducing the electronic request of store items. We also hope to offer the electronic delivery of articles from store journals direct to the reader's desktop.
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